Srinagar: The Government of Jammu and Kashmir on Thursday terminated the services of two doctors, including a female gynaecologist who had fudged the vaginal swabs of two deceased women in Shopian in 2009 in order to implicate the security forces in a false rape-murder case.
Dr Nighat Shaheen Chiloo and Dr Bilal Ahmad Dalal have been charge-sheeted by the CBI for fabricating evidence and fraudulently twisting the accidental deaths of the two women that took place due to drowning into a rape and murder case by submitting a false post-mortem report.
A CBI investigation has revealed that all allegations of rape and murder were false. It claimed that 13 particular persons—six doctors, five lawyers and two civilians—had hatched a conspiracy to defame the Government, police and security forces and to generate a massive turbulence in the valley in collusion with the separatists and Pakistan’s notorious spy agency ISI.
The incident had triggered a seven-month-long street turbulence across the Kashmir valley as the separatists and militants claimed that the police and security forces personnel had “raped and murdered’ the two women. At least seven civilians werze killed and hundreds injured in the clashes with police and security forces. Officials said that the State economy suffered a loss of Rs 6,000 crore.
The Lieutenant Governor issued an order terminating the services of Dr Nighat Shaheen Chiloo, Consultant Gynaecologist, currently posted at Sub District Hospital Chadoora, Budgam, after being satisfied that her activities warranted her dismissal from service. An identical order was issued to dismiss Dr Bilal Ahmad Dalal.
The official order stated that the action had been taken under sub clause (c) of Article 311 of the Constitution of India which empowers the LG to dismiss a government employee without an inquiry. According to the order, the LG was satisfied that holding an inquiry against Dr Nighat Shaheen Chiloo was “not expedient” in the interest of the security of the State.
Even as the two Government orders did not mention the grounds on which the two doctors had been dismissed, official sources said that they had ‘fudged’ the post mortem reports of the two young woman, Asiya and Neelofar of Shopian in 2009 in order to fraudulently establish their death as a result of “rape and murder”.
The two women, while returning from their fields, were found dead in Rambiara nallah on 29 May 2009. As turmoil spilled over to the whole valley, Omar Abdullah’s National Conference-Congress government buckled under the separatists’ pressure, suspended and arrested three police officers, including the then SSP of Shopian, Javed Iqbal Matoo.
The Government ordered a judicial inquiry by a retired judge of the Jammu and Kashmir High Court. But after a day-long furore in the Assembly over a mismatch of vaginal swabs in the post-mortem report, as reported in a national newspaper, the Government referred the matter to the Central Bureau of Investigation for a detailed criminal investigation.
The CBI involved forensic experts of two Central laboratories and a team of the forensic medicine doctors of AIIMS New Delhi, comprising among others Dr T.D. Dogra and Dr Anupama Raina, with the investigation. Some senior citizens of the Shopian town, including a doctor who had served in Saudi Arabia for nearly 30 years and the Majlisi Mashawarat Shopian were also associated with the investigation.
The bodies were exhumed under the orders and supervision of the District Magistrate. The CBI observed in presence of all doctors and forensic experts that the hymen of the unmarried women was intact. It established that the two women had never been raped or murdered. The CBI investigation established that Dr Bilal Ahmad Dalal of District Hospital Shopian had failed to conduct the post mortem of the two women as per standard operation procedures.
Most astonishingly, the CBI observed that Dr Nighat Shaheen Chiloo of District Hospital Pulwama had submitted only one vaginal swab instead of the prescribed two swabs of each case. When the forensic laboratory raised a query, Dr Chiloo, under orders of then Deputy Medical Superintendent of District Hospital Pulwama, collected her own swab and sent the same to the laboratory for an analysis. It clearly did not match the swabs already sent.
The 66-page CBI report absolved the three detained police officers who were released and reinstated into services. According to the CBI report, the ultimate aim of the doctors was to create disaffection against the Indian state by falsely accusing the security forces of rape and murder.
The CBI filed a charge sheet against six doctors, five lawyers and two civilians, including the brother of one of the deceased women, for fabricating evidence. Since neither rape nor murder had taken place, the CBI report concluded that the lawyers had hatched a conspiracy and forced two persons to become witnesses against the Police officers. According to the CBI, the two women drowned and died while trying to cross the river.
The AIIMS Delhi doctors who conducted the exhumation and the third post-mortem found the same diatoms (algae) in the lungs of the two women that existed in the area where the bodies were found. The CBI probe found that both teams of doctors lied in the post-mortem reports. The first team of the DH Shopian doctors said Asiya died due to cardiovascular arrest and Neelofar died due to neurogenic shock.
The second team of doctors from DH Pulwama claimed Asiya was sexually assaulted and she died due to haemorrhage and shock caused by bleeding from multiple injuries. They reported that Neelofar died due to neurogenic shock following sexual intercourse.
The CBI report quoted the medical opinion of AIIMS doctors who conclusively stated that the deaths took place “due to asphyxia as a result of ante-mortem drowning”. It said the lacerated wound on Asiya’s forehead was not sufficient to cause death.